Cruise to Tanjung Piayu: My Little Adventure – 9 to 12 August 2019

Eventually only three boats made it to the cruise, three others had to pull out due to unforeseen commitments. This left SDF, Olmeto and Skybird, the only three that made the annual seafood pilgrimage to Tanjung Piayu this year. This year’s cruise also coincides with Singapore’s National Day celebration, that too added to the small numbers that went.

Just a little recap for those who don’t know about Tanjung Piayu. Located at the South Eastern corner of Batam Island, Piayu houses a small fishing kampong with a few seafood restaurants along the coastline. It has now become a very popular seafood haunt for the locals.

I have done this trip umpteen times but what made this trip a little special for me was that I did it single handed. Though I’ve done the crossing to Nongsa alone on my other two boats, this trip was different as I would be out of the comfort of Nongsa Point Marina on my own. I know that others have done much longer trips on the own and survived, others have circumnavigated the world without much fanfare. So, what’s so special about a short trip to Tanjung Piayu, I’m doing it solo.

This is for the benefit of those who have not yet made a trip out of Singapore or for those who, like me, have thought about doing solo sailing but have not come to it yet.

Preparations. Getting the boat ready for any trip is of the utmost importance. I had a few issues on my boat which had to be fixed before I could go. In brief; I had to get my steering fixed as it was too stiff, had the auto-pilot changed due to a faulty drive-motor, had to get the wiring done on the alternator as it wasn’t charging the batteries, had to change the navigation lights and re-wire due to corrosion.

Other checks which I did was to ensure that all necessary electronics worked; chart plotter, AIS, VHF, general lighting plus water, fuel and some food stuff.

The day came for me to set off, I had to ensure that the basic safety items were within reach of me. I had the PFD with me and ready for use, shoes with good grip, a handheld VHF and my documents in a dry bag. Having done the trip I now realise that it would be good to have storage bags within the cockpit area. All loose items should be stored away.

My little adventure began as I left the clubs jetty, I decided to motor-sail with just the headsail until after I cleared immigration. The immigration boat came very quickly, unfortunately, I could not hand the documents over as the waters were extremely choppy. I only managed it after about 20 minutes of bobbing about. My plan was to put up the mainsail to do the crossing, however, as the conditions were too choppy for me to get the mains up, I decided to continue to NPM with only the headsail. The crossing took much longer as the wind, wave and tide were all against me and coming from the direction of Nongsa.

I would also like to suggest that you switch to channel 16 after you have done the immigration clearance. You would then be able to listen to marine traffic and be contactable as I had experienced. The Police Coast Guard called to check on my next port pf call. They must be wondering what I was doing as I taking a long time to make my way towards the TSS (Traffic Separation Scheme – shipping channel). Well I thought that it was cool, having a chat with the coast guard. Cheers! to the guys in blue.

Onboard Skybird

As I had mentioned, the incoming tide was very strong and I was swept further off course even as I motor-sailed. The usual welcome and berthing support from NPM staff were always much appreciated. As I approached my berth, I found myself in familiar company; Katrianne and Windancer. After settling down and having my first beer of the day, the rest of the afternoon was spent cleaning the boat. Dinner was spent with my good friends Samsi from the Riau Sailing Club and Fazdly from XSP and not forgetting Prakash, who I had a beer with earlier.

The first thing to do on the morning of the 9th August was to decorate the boat with some flags and streamers to mark Singapore’s National Day, but at the same time I didn’t want to be too loud about it. Took a shower and put on a T-shirt designed for National Day, just to have the patriotic feel. Happy Birthday Singapore. By early afternoon, SDF, Olmeto and Simba had arrived. After clearing CIQP, we each went about doing our own things but met at Skybird for a sundowner with a hope of catching some fireworks from across the channel but unfortunately, we couldn’t see anything. An on the spot decision was made and dinner was at Setia Budi, a nearby seafood restaurant. We had an early night as we planned to leave for Piayu early.

Skybird at Nongsa Marina

Next morning came and by 10.30am we were off to Tanjung Piayu, this is where my little adventure begins. Did a pre-departure check to ensure that I didn’t missed out anything. Came out of the marina and hoping for some calm waters but it was quite choppy and the winds were up to 15 knots. This made putting up the mainsails a little challenging. I wasn’t going to let the chops deter me so I hoisted the mains and decided to put in two reefs and half furled the genoa and even with that I was still doing an average of 5 knots. After about half an hour into the sail, I thought of shaking of the 2nd reef but the conditions were still bumpy so I decided to leave the 2nd on. Again, the wind and tide were against me so I had to put in a few tacks before turning the top corner of Batam to go down the channel towards Tanjung Piayu. Having reached the top corner, the conditions were still choppy and the wind and tide against me so I had to sail much further towards Bintan before putting in a tack. At this point it was much easier sailing as I could sit on a port tack for a much longer distant.

With the wind and wave coming from the front, the auto-pilot had problems holding the course so I manually sailed most of the way, accept when I had to go down to get a drink and the apples which became my meal for the day. I really enjoyed the 5 hours sailing solo. As mentioned, I know of members who had made longer trips and to faraway places and what I have done is nothing big to brag about but to me it was an achievement.

Boat: Olmeto

Olmeto was already anchored off Pulau Awi but I decided to proceed to Piayu. Dropped the hook in the channel at Tanjung Piayu and allowed the anchor to set, I let out 20m of chain and about 10m of rope. While waiting, I popped my first beer for the day, a self-congratulatory drink for me. When I was satisfied that it was holding, I proceeded to tie the rope to the cleat rather than leaving the load to the windlass.

Becoming complacent. What happened to safety, gloves on when working with anchors and rode.

I held onto the rope as I needed to let out some so that I could tie it down onto the cleat. Without doing a safety check, I hit the button and to my horror my fingers were pulled into the windlass, trapping my middle, fourth and little pinky of my right hand. My fingers were wedged in tight, fortunately for me it wasn’t the chain section. Lost for a few seconds, I just stared at my fingers before I realized what I had done. Reaching for the controller, I then hit the down button and my fingers rolled out free. Oh, it hurt so much. Blood flowed and I quickly got to the wash basin and put my fingers under running water, grabbed a towel and applied pressure onto the wound.

By then, SDF and Olmeto were both anchored off Pulau Awi, hoping to catch some swim time. I wanted to call them for assistance but decided not to because I heard on the radio that SDF had windlass issues and all 80m of chain had been let out. I said to myself, poor Derek, he would have to physically pull in 80m of chain, which he eventually did. SDF finally got things sorted and came into the channel. Derek called and asked as I had earlier told him that I had hurt myself. Once anchored, he came over in his dinghy with his first-aid kit and two cans of iced-cold pain killer. What a man, thanks Derek.

Boat: SDF

With the excitement of the day gone by, we met at the Love Seafood Restaurant for dinner. Thanks, this time to Jon who brought his First-aid kit which had the proper anti-septic solutions, Lucy and Allie played nurse and helped dressed my wounds. The food, as usual, was good and with our bellies filled, we made our way back to our respective boat for a quite evening, so we thought. The loud speakers came alive and some kind of religious chants were blasted across the whole area. I doubt that anyone had any sleep that night. We would probably need to reconsider our timing for the next pilgrimage to Piayu.

Dinner at Love Seafood Restaurant

Love Seafood Restaurant at Tanjung Piayu.

The excitement didn’t end there for me, at about 5am I heard some light scratching sound coming from under. Quickly got on deck to inspect and to my dismay, I realised that the breeze had pushed me towards the little island and I am now sitting in the mud. Checked the water depth at the bow and looked like I was still in deep waters but when I got to the stern, I saw that I only had about a foot if water under my stern. I guessed that I must be sitting at the edge of the drop-off. I went into the cabin, turned on the lights and thought of my next course of action.

First thought was to start the engine and maybe throttle my way out but as I was sitting in mud, the props would probably been in the mud and trapped and a very high possibility of sucking in mud into the cooling system. The breeze was nice then, so the next plan was to try to shake myself loose. So, for the next half hour or so, I backed and release the headsail causing the bow to swing from left to right. This action had helped to wriggle the keel out of the soft mud and thankfully I was freed. Once cleared, I started the engine, retrieved the anchor and reset my position. Lesson learned, do not push the panic button. Size up the situation and put in a plan. But if all fails….scream for…… HELP!!!!!

Lucy and Alison, from SDF, had earlier offered to help me sail Skybird back to NPM because of my injury. And, it would have been so much easier too but I decided that I just needed to complete my little solo adventure. Also, as they were not on my crew list, I thought that it would be safer if they didn’t come onboard. Would have been hard to explain if we were stopped. Thanks, girls, for the thought, much appreciate. The breeze was nice and with one reef in, it was a beautiful reach to NPM. Better prepared this time, I had bacon sandwiches which I made earlier and kept it cool in the ice chest, so lunch was much better and I still had an apple to go along. I took the most direct course to the top corner, this put me on a very broad reach and I doing a comfortable 4 to 5 knots. But after heading up around the corner, the wind angle changed and now cruising nicely between 6 to 7 plus knots. Sweet sailing.

After tying down at the marina, the rest of the evening was rather routine. Derek treated his family to Japanese at Turi Beach. After dinner I had few drinks with Jon at the marina bar before calling it a night.

The next morning was routine again, breakfast, collect documents and by 10.30am we were off towards CSC. This time immigration took much longer but all was well. As mentioned, others had done much more but this trip was special to me as it may mark more solo trips with just Skybird and I.

Thanks to SDF and Olmeto; good company make good trip.

Batam to starboard – Sailing up the Selat Durian : Expedition on Sprint Corsair trimaran, Cicak (August 2019)

Part 1 – Head to wind – the journey South to Ranoh from Nongsa by Lauren Hill (16)

Imagine you’re at the beach in Bali. Never been there? Let me describe it to you. The wind is blowing, strong, causing white caps to appear on the sea, like white harsh lines against the dark blue. Now imagine the waves. 3 metre tall monsters, ones that you could surf on that would take your surf board from a kilometre out all the way to the beach. Pretty right?

Our port ama submarines as we face heavy swell and strong winds on the way South to Ranoh

Now imagine sailing through that on a trimaran. Not so pretty. The waves kept coming and grew taller and stronger the further south we went. I remember thinking ‘I wish I brought my boogie board to ride some of these waves’. Then a big 3 metre monster came hit us and we nearly fell of it and I thought, ‘ok, maybe not’.

The whole sail down was a constant battle of waves and wind on the nose. We have a running joke in our family, and I’m sure it some sailors would agree with me. Wherever you sail in Singapore or its neighbouring ports/islands, the wind is always on the nose. Always. Oh, and the tide too.

We didn’t put the engine on. We knew sailing there would be faster. I doubt our little engine would’ve gotten us through Nongsa’s entrance.

We sailed 50 miles down south, battling wind, waves and tide. Then we hung a right after Kopek Rapat, the southernmost island after Keras Besar.

It was easier after that, the waves were beam on now, and as if by a miracle stroke of luck, so was the wind. We managed to escape the wrath of the sea into the sheltered waters of Pulau Ranoh.

There was lots of coral, and the reef extended far out from the main island, to where the main channel was, connecting Ranoh to the bigger islands around it.

Our first night anchorage at Pulau Mubudarat – around the corner from where the Neptune Fleet normally stays on the return journey in the NE Monsoon

The resort on the island was a day resort, with small ferry boats bringing passengers from mainland Batam to the island in the early morning, and departing with the passengers in the late afternoon. There were glamping tents available on the island, as well as bunks for those who wanted to stay the night, but only a handful chose to remain each night.

Our route around Batam via Ranoh and Sugi with winds from the Southeast

Later that day we were joined by other boats travelling down from Nongsa. Katrianne, Winddancer, Rehua and Sharkfin. We finished the day as guests of Gary and Karen Matthews for Sundowners with the rest of the fleet on Katrianne in the anchorage off Ranoh.


Part 2 – Dining with the other boats at Pulau Ranoh by Sasha Hill (15)

“Cicak, Cicak, this is Windancer. Are the girls awake over” “Hello Winddancer this is Cicak, no the girls are still sleeping over” “Ah, we were wondering if the girls would like to come over to have pancakes for breakfast over?” “PANCakes!” Lauren and I yelled, wide awake. Apparently our screams of delight carried through the VHF and woke up the rest of the fleet. The crew in Winddancer started laughing while Glenn told us that he would pick us up by dinghy. When we reached there I had at least 10 small pancakes covered with chocolate spread and honey. They were delicious. Thanks very much Barb! After that, we went on shore and joined the other boats in the flotilla from Nongsa for lunch.

Lauren does archery practice on Ranoh with the other boats from the fleet


Part 3 – Returning via the south west side of Batam, by Tim Hill (very old)

The rest of the fleet were planning to return via Tanjong Piayu – with Winddancer going underneath the Barelam Bridge. We chose the route less travelled – leaving Batam to starboard.

We set off just after sunrise sailing through the anchorage and waving goodbye to our friends on the other boats.

The girls did their usual 2 hours on, 4 hours off helming duties. We set out west and then rounded Pulau Abang Besar bringing out out big reacher sail (with a big Cicak on it, of course). We then settled down for a beautiful 30 nm reach out to Pulau Sugi and Telunas resort. For most of this passage we saw no other boats – just the occasional island en route. As the wind picked up by mid morning we had the same swell as the trip down, but it was behind us so we could surf in on the waves. It was a great feeling and we averaged about 11-12 knots for the latter part of the passage.


Coming in close to Telunas we saw the resort up close. It looked great. Sasha spotted an unmarked rock off the Northwest side of Telunas and managed to avoid it. The route then took us out into the Durian Strait and then into the Philip Strait towards Singapore – with 20 knots of wind behind us all the way.

Sailing past Telunas Resort leaving Pulau Sugi to starboard at about 10 knots

We could have made it all the way back to Nongsa by sunset but decided to stop near Buffalo Rock on the Batam side where we found a perfect trimaran anchorage at Pulau Kapal Besar.  A sheltered flat water bay with sandy bottom, deserted island with a view in the far distance of Singapore island silhouetted by a beautiful tropical sunset.

Our final night’s anchorage at Pulau Kapal Besar near Buffalo Rock – a perfect trimaran anchorage

We settled down for a last dinner and an early night – with a big breakfast the next day – and a 20nm reach to Nongsa arriving by lunchtime, around the same time as our friends from the rest of the fleet.

Lauren cooks us all breakfast on the final morning. We managed to position the cooker in the lower part of the table which worked well







The girls took a pool break while I tightened up all the fittings that had loosened through several days of extreme banging and shaking in some of the most extreme (and fun) conditions we had taken to the boat into.

The Southwest and West sides of Batam are a beautiful sailing ground with hundreds of hidden anchorages and protected sailing in either monsoon. We also couldn’t believe that we sailed through about 60nm in such a short time – but I guess the 20knot winds behind us for most of the journey helped!

It was also great to spend part of the trip with friends on other boats down in Ranoh. Thanks Katrianne, Winddancer, Rehua and Sharkfin for joining and hosting us on your boats!

Thanks also to Ronny from CSC for correcting all my mistakes in the paperwork and arranging perfect delivery of forms in time for immigration as well as Prakash, Dwi and the team from Nongsa Point Marina for doing the same at the other end. And the girls from Cicak for making it all happen! A video of our adventure can be seen on the Cicak Youtube channel.

Footnote.  The provisioning and equipment stuff that worked well on this cruise

We were camping and cruising on the boat for 5 days. And although we have done longer cruises, we cooked most of our meals onboard and showered onboard. So what worked well for this extend cruise was

Small wooden foldable table. We were able to put the portable stove on the lower part of the table and use the top for everything else. This also meant the stove did not get any opportunities to melt the deck

2 x 20 litre jerry cans of water, plus an extra 4 litres frozen in reusable bottles in the cooler box and a shower bag of about 15 litres of water. We fill these up at the dock at CSC and load them onto the boat. We used about 6-8 litres a day showering for 3 of us and about 2 litres for drinking. We brought about 10 excess litres back to CSC. The shower bag split during this trip and will likely be replaced by old 2 litre plastic water drink bottles painted black with an alternative perforated lid for hand showers. We would dunk in seawater before lathering and then back in the sea before rinsing in freshwater.

Sarongs. Very useful as sun protection during the day, especially when lying on the net helming. We also used face and neck scarfs as well as hats and hence minimised suncream use.

Tinned food. Because we can’t keep stuff cold for longer than 2 days unless we replenish the ice ashore. So we had tinned beans, vegetables, sardines, tuna, spam – you name it. These were either heated into a stew for dinner, fried (spam) for breakfast along with eggs, or eaten in wraps for lunch.

Fresh apples and peaches. Good for breakfast in the morning and don’t need chilling – along with a pre-made bottle of cold ice coffee which also worked luke warm.

Sun screen tent cover for anchorages – made from the material you get in garden centres that screens the sun but lets the wind blow through. It was very dry during this trip so we didn’t get out the big purpose-made tent that goes over the boom and seals the cockpit and cabin against storms at anchor.

Twilight Series II (Race 2)

It was nice to see a consistent Easterly breeze settling in for the afternoon, giving sailors a natural windward-leeward course between Changi and Squance. In addition to sailing the course well, sailors also had to be extra vigilant, having to avoid a school of canoes on the start line and big commercial vessels sailing through the course.

A good start from the IRC Class saw a quick breakaway from the fleet, with Jong Dee taking an early lead. Skipper Paul Kendall read the shifts well to stay on top of close rivals Waka Tere, but struggled to stretch the lead over the course of the afternoon. When the numbers were crunched, both boats tied for first on corrected time – an extremely rare occurrence! To make things more exciting, Skybird finished a mere 8 seconds after on handicap, awarding them with a well-deserved 2nd place behind the joint-winners.

It was exciting to see all 7 boats from the PY Class so close to each other on the first beat to Changi, with NTUSC’s Notus holding a marginal lead rounding Changi Buoy. A superb downwind to Squance after that extended their lead, which eventually helped seal their victory. Southern Light made amends for their poor performance during last week’s Sunday Series, scoring 2nd place on corrected time – just 6 seconds ahead of Balqis in 3rd! It was also worthy to note that 2 boats in the PY Class sailed with minimal crew, Balqis sailing 2-up and Minx sailing solo!

It was an intimate affair for the Multihulls, with a total of 4 boats representing the 3 classes. Cicak bested Miss Visayan over the finish line and on handicap, taking the win in the Cruising Multihull Class. Keeping the flag flying high for the beach catamarans and wetas were Bad Influence and Itchy-Go respectively.

Congratulations to all the winners – looking forward to next week’s Sunday Series II (Race 3)!


IRC Keelboat
PY Keelboat
Cruising Multihull

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Vesak Day Nongsa Cruise 2019

We were blessed with a rare long weekend due to Vesak Day celebrations, the perfect opportunity for a short getaway to Nongsa Point Marina & Resort, Batam.

3 was the magic number – as 3 boats, 3 couples and 3 families departed CSC moorings for Batam on Saturday, 18th May. Immigrations & Customs was a smooth affair – thank you Ronny for the efficient and reliable administration/documentation, as always!

The journey south was calm and uneventful, with a welcome shower greeting us as we entered the Eastern Anchorage being the only source of excitement. Southern Light took the shortest route to Nongsa, braving the rain clouds to set a straight course of 170 to the marina entrance, wasting no time getting across the shipping channel to safe haven and an inviting pool. Both Waka Tere and Elessar took their time to enjoy a short beat south with the gentle breeze, arriving 2 hours later to complete the CSC family at NPM.

Evening dinner plans took most of us to Wandi’s, a seafood restaurant just 5-10mins drive from the Marina. They served up a sumptuous spread of seafood paired with ice-cold bintangs, a perfect end to our first day.

Day 2 was free & easy, Kurt and Gill from Waka Tere did some boat maintenance in the Marina, Elessar went for a day cruise, Team Southern Light enjoyed some water games and jet-skiing at Turi Beach and Stefan soaked in the beauty and tranquility of Nongsa Village with his family.

I think the lure of cruising to Nongsa, Batam lies in the accessibility of the location and flexibility of the itinerary. Just a leisurely 3 hour sail from Singapore, it is definitely the go-to location for a short-weekend getaway with full amenities.

Big thank you to Southern Light for having myself and Nicole on board – we had a wonderful time! Not forgetting Prakash and Team, for the impeccable service. With it being an easy entry-level cruise, we look forward to having more members joining us for the next Cruise to Nongsa – we can’t wait!


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Singapore – Langkawi Round Trip Cruise on Eriphine!

The final beer before departure!

5:30am we’ve left CSC. The first taste of sailing by night.

Thanks to Ronny (CSC’s Accounts Executive), outbound immigration clearing was a piece of cake. Five minutes besides our beloved ICA cutter and we had been FREE. All incoming foreign barges, heading for immigration clearing, had been way behind us.

Starting the 1st long leg of 178nm by sailing right besides the traffic separation zone was a good decision. Just a few vessels were crossing our way. Even when crossing Sisters-, Jurong- and Sinki-Fairway, thanks to Nina’s great outlook we were always able to maintain a reasonable distance to those…..Read More

Easter Weekend Cruise 19-21 April 2019

The final count was 16 boats, such a big turnout for a Sebana/Telok Sengat cruise…Fantastic!!! Happy to share my short account of the weekend.

By 9.30 am, almost all the boats had left the mooring and headed towards Angler’s for the immigration clearance. The tide was rather slack which made the sail out easier, notably for me as I had a cooling water issue on Skybird. 1200 rpm was about the best I could do, which meant near zero forward movement against the strong tides that took control for the rest of the journey.

The smooth clearance at Angler’s helped make a good start to the trip to Sungei Shanti and onto Sebana. The breeze then was generally light and was coming on the nose which made sailing to Angler difficult, so most decided to motor the way there.

The faster ones made it good up river and arrived nice and dry, unfortunately, the few that were slower, where caught in a heavy downpour and were left drenched to the bones. It has been quite a while since I last stood in a downpour and it was quite cold. As we finally approached the marina, Desmond in Todak, who wasn’t too sure about Sebana, radioed me to ask which berth he should take, my answer to him was to find one that wasn’t raining. Fortunately, the rain cleared as we entered the marina, clear skies took over and the rest of the afternoon went to immigration clearance, hotel check-ins and boat cleaning.

Free and easy was the call for the night, Southern Light played host by opening up their boat for a Dock BBQ. However, some already had plans of their own and it ended with BBQ’s at various boats, some went into town for the annual seafood fix at Sungei Ringgit.

As part of this cruise to Sebana, boats can also choose to sail up the Johor River to Teluk Sengat. From the immigration point at Tanjung Pengelih; Sengat is about 13 nautical miles away, a nice 3-hour sail, if the conditions are right. Kurt and Gill in Waka Tere were the only ones that did it and had themselves a sumptuous seafood dinner. The next day they joined the rest of us at Sebana.

Soon the hours went by and everyone went into their own cozy corner for a well-deserved sleep. The nice thing about Sebana is that you can actually chillout there. No hard and fast rules or programmes to follow, truly, to each his own. I feel that it is this common thought that many of us have that make the trip to Sebana a very relaxed and enjoyable event.

Saturday was no different, we all went about doing our own things, some took advantage of the time and convenience to give a good cleaning to their boat. Others went to town while others just lazed around. Together with the crew from Todak, we went further up river in our tenders in search of an old crab farm. After meandering up the river we finally reach the location, it looked so run down that we thought it was shut. Sections of the zinc roofing were blown off, wooden planked-walls were torn, a small fish holding area that was there which didn’t look functional. Must have been some big winds that had come along and took parts of the structure along.

Even then we motored forward to have a closer look. Then we saw an area to the back that was still intact and out popped a head through a window of sought. We asked if they still sold crabs, then the RM250 answer came back and we were in business. After some talking and bargaining, we walked away with three huge crabs and at that price, we were happy. And that was dinner for the night. May be this could be one of a new attraction for our next visit to Sebana; bring your own tender for a crab cruise.

Another thing which I would like to share with you is our visit to Dr. Raymond Tan and his dear wife Margaret. They owned one of those units opposite of the Marina which has their own berth. Ray and Margaret have been members of CSC for a long time. What I actually want to share is that he brought out an old club T-shirt to show and it was made of towel material. Odd but interesting, photo’s will be shown. Btw, Raymond is retired and in he’s earlier days, he circumnavigated the world together with his wife in their yacht Tien Fei. To my knowledge, that makes them and Richard Howe, in his yacht Rum Bottle, the only members from CSC that had done it. If this is incorrect, sincere apologies to all other circumnavigators of CSC!

Time went by swiftly; we soon devoured the freshly bought Crabs in the evening and by late night we had our usual CSC gathering at the Oyster bar and in the Pirates Creek. It was nice to be able to sit around and chat with like-minded people; sailors!!

On Sunday, it was time to bid our farewell to Sebana Cove Resort as boats made preparations for the return trip to Singapore. By 1130, all boats had departed Sebana and headed for their clearance into Singapore. Then came the journey out the river and towards Anglers, many had already reached the location while I was still awhile away. I could hear the calls to immigration and hearing the reply that we needed to get coastguard clearance before proceeding to immigration. A tone of clear frustration was how I thought of the situation. Immigration was trying to offer queue numbers to the horde of boats but there was a queue. It looked like this is to be the norm when coming back into Singapore waters, so PCG before ICA. It was nice that the police were friendly about it, a nice hello on ch. 16 and we were cleared. Being about the last to arrive, the waiting time wasn’t too long before we were on our way back to the club. After clearing immigration, a 10 to 12 knot breeze came and that made our sail back to the club fun and much quicker then motoring. That was the only moment in the entire event when I could actually shut off the engine and sail Sky Bird.

With that we conclude another fun cruise and we thank all the participants for making this another successful event and for breaking the record for having the greatest number of boat entries; 16.


Thank you; Waka Tere, Southern Light, Ikaroa, New Blue Eyes, Midnight Blue, Withywindle, Sui Lynn, Zephyr, Cicak, Miss Visayan, Temptress of Down, Todak, Elessar, Defiance, Firefly and Gary Ng + Family (Cartman) who joined us via land transport!


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Goodwill Cruise to Nongsa

On 15 & 16 December, CSC organised a Goodwill Cruise to Nongsa Point Marina – in support of the sailors of Riau Yacht Club.

The Riau Yacht Club is a small dinghy club operating off a little beachfront at the western corner of the Marina. They reach out to the children from the rural areas of batam and invite them to learn how to sail on the optimists, bytes and lasers. As these children are mostly from low-income families, the Yacht Club offers a sailing training programme for free, sponsored by Indonesian Businessman Kris Wiluan.

Our Members brought clothes, food, stationery, bags and various other items from Singapore to donate to the young sailors of Riau Yacht Club. 4 out of the 5 boats were on their maiden cruising trip, made further enjoyable by the amazing hospitality at Nongsa Point Marina.

We would like to thank the following Yachts for taking part in our inaugural goodwill cruise:

  1. SDF / Derek Sharples
  2. Emmanuel II / Desmond Wong
  3. Swannee / Mackson Chia
  4. Eriphine / Matthias Gaede
  5. Elessar / Michael Huffines

Not forgetting the Members who donated your pre-loved items and the team at Nongsa Point Marina for helping make this Goodwill Cruise a success – Thank you!

We look forward to making this an annual affair, do join us on our next Goodwill Cruise in 2019. Details to be updated on our E-newsletter and Website.


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CSC Optimist Championships Gold Fleet – Day 4

The Final Day of the Gold Fleet Championships was a quick and exciting run of two pennant 3 races, due to the early arrival of the North-northeasterly winds. Wind speeds hit a consistent 8-10 knots, giving sailors a windy treat on the course!

2017 winner Muhammad Raihan Bin Mohd Airudin secured his title defence with a 3rd and 12th place finish in today’s races – putting him 8 points ahead of 2nd placed Radiance Koh. Radiance sailed brilliantly from Day 2 onwards, steadily creeping up the standings each day to complete this regatta as 1st runner-up. She displaces Josiah Tan into 3rd place, whose 22nd placing in the final race costed him a drop to 3rd.

The Junior Mixed Division is meant to encourage the sailors who have made it into the Gold Fleet at such a young age. Zach Low tops this division in 37th place, just 5 rungs above Isaac Poon in 42nd. Oon Cheanng Qi completes the top 3 and scored 54th overall. CSC representative Antonin Radue showed much promise throughout the regatta, placing in the top 10 for 3 races. Despite finishing a commendable 18th overall, he will need to work on his consistency should he wish to climb the standings for future regattas.

Many Thanks to the Sailors, Parents and volunteers for joining us over the past 4 days! We would also like to extend a Big Thank You to Jerrold Ng and Michael Tan for presiding over this event as the Juries. Last but not least, Thank you once again to Xtreme Sailing Products for the generously sponsoring the prizes!

Congratulations to all the winners – we look forward to hosting everyone again next year – till then, happy holidays!



2018 Optimist Gold Final Results


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CSC Optimist Championships Gold Fleet – Day 3

The wind finally delivered on the 3rd  day of the Gold Fleet Championships, as a fresh northerly breeze allowed us to witness sailors hiking out for the very first time in this Regatta.  Following an ill-disciplined fleet and an impromptu Rule 42 Talk by International Jury Jerrold Ng, sailors were very cautious on the start line and with regards to their body movements today. Managing to complete 4 races over 5 hours – race organisers can now breathe easy going into the final day with 10 races already completed.

After 10 races, Muhammad Raihan Bin Mohd Airudin continues to hold a healthy lead over his nearest rival by a comfortable 9 points. After 2 discards, Josiah sneaks ahead of Ethan Teo to take 2nd place with only 2 points separating the both of them. Radiance Koh bettered her previous day’s results yet again, drawing first blood in Race 7 & 8 to score 2 bullets – helping to drive her into 4th place. Further down the pack, Zach Low Yu Jie leads the Junior Division in 31st overall – not bad for a sailor who just entered the gold fleet not too long ago!

1 day and 2 races to go – we’re looking forward to an exciting finale and can’t wait to see who will be crowned the 2018 CSC Optimist Champion!


2018 Optimist Gold Day 3


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Birregurra to Anambas – August 2018

Birregurra has  recently returned from a fabulous cruise to the Anambas Islands. This was really quite different from anything  Birregurra  has  done before. The anchorages, sailing, remoteness and in particular the wind, were just fantastic. A total of four on board – John, Jane, Veron and myself. Anambas is at the south western edge of the South China Sea, so it’s quite exposed and isolated, and we needed good preparation, as there are no marinas and almost no assistance.

The preparation

John must have been a young ‘un when he first sailed on Rona?

The best preparation is to read and re-read the Howath’s journey, and follow precisely their anchorage waypoints – they are very accurate:  Thanks also to Ashley for relaying some of his extensive learnings from his trip last year.


The Charts  in this area are not so accurate. John downloaded the KAP files from the Howarth’s link, which meant we had google earth images on a pc, which when connected to the yacht’s nav wifi, gave us an accurate position  in relation to the coral  on approach to anchorages – very, very helpful.

We ramped up preparations in the final week. Provisioned mostly via RedMart who delivered to the start of the jetty. Apart from two lunches ashore, we ate all meals aboard, so lots of food and drinks to load up. We carried 500L of water in two tanks (only 300L used), 160L of diesel in the fuel tank and another 125L in plastic jerry cans (also not used). 60M of chain plus another 30M spare in a locker, and most importantly, a bloody good anchor. A life raft, sat phone, personal location beacon, updated B&G Navionics, backed up with an ipad, pc and charts. Plus all the usual safety kit, tools and spares. We were loaded up.


We set off from CSC at 9:25am on the Sat 4th Aug, cleared Immigration at Angler, and motored the 15NM to Nongsa into the wind. Cleared into Indonesia, caught a taxi to Batu Besar and got local SIMs (actually very limited coverage throughout the Anambas Islands) and had a fabulous local lunch before heading back to the Marina and some last minute preparations.

How they used to make ‘em

The girls were impressed with the hot showers and free laundry.  We decided to stick to plan (despite reports of 4M seas), and after a quick look at Rona (a 1895 sailing yacht John first sailed on), we let go at 11am.

The sail up

The rain came down almost immediately, so we motored for the first 45mins, but then with 2 reefs in the main and a full jib, we cut the engine – not to be restarted until we arrived at our anchorage. As we settled, we shook out one reef, and then stayed on a starboard tack all the way, with 13-19kn of consistent wind on the beam. We rounded Horsburgh lighthouse and stayed to the southern side of the shipping channel. We had minimal traffic, a million stars and excellent wind. John and i did 4hr shifts. Poor Veron was very seasick most of the way, but we all wore life jackets and were tethered on overnight as the seas became quite confused with a very uncomfortable 1-2M swell.


Veron admiring the sunset (or feeding the fish?)

John somehow managed to hang on down below and cooked a loaf of bread in the oven, and we arrived to the North East of Jemaja and had our anchor down before 11am. What a ride – 186NM in under 24hrs – this is what Birregurra was designed for. We anchored on 14M in sand, and had some excellent snorkelling. Veron was quickly back to her usual self, and we had one of Meau’s fabulous pre cooked Thai curries for dinner.

Anchorages around the Anambas Islands

After a  breakfast of sausages and bacon and fresh bread, we pumped up the kayak and John and I paddled to Pulau Ayam, and explored a disused house which for some reason had 5 bras wrapped around the central pillar – we were not sure if this was a structural improvement or something else 🙂

The inflatable kayak worked very well, when someone paddled

We motored out between the islands, following the Howarth way points, and at one point, our nav said we were over land! – which thankfully we were not. We sailed the 3.5NM to Teluk Mampro under jib only, and anchored along a 3km beach in 5M on sand. All four of us piled into to the kayak (designed for 2-3), and we paddled ashore.

We then walked 2km to Letong town, stopping by the local school for some free wifi..

After watching a cadet parade where the local girls amusedly wore hijabs and pj bottoms, we found a very local restaurant, that sourced a couple of unrefrigerated beers but lots of ice.

Day 4 was a bit rainy early, but we had John’s home baked rolls with bacon. We motored to Pulau Impul and anchored. There were unchartered awash rocks nearby which made me a bit nervous.

After snorkelling, we had roast chicken for lunch, then pulled up full sails and headed to Telaga, about 14NM. I was just off the helm and down below, and heard something bang on the foredeck. By the time i was on deck, the head sail was fully down and in the water behind the stern, but still tacked on. The top shackle had come undone. We recovered the sail and continued under main only.  We anchored at the Howarth’s recommended spot in 18.5M (under the keel) between Pulau Lima and Telaga Kechil. Quite a bit of wind funnelling up the channel, and so with the jib swivel stuck at the top of the forestay, there was no way we could sensibly send someone up the mast to retrieve it. John remembered something he had seen on the internet in one of his more idle moments.

The girls find a new multi-tool

The girls find a new multi-tool

And so out came the potato masher (only the old fashioned ones will work), lifted up by the spin halyard, and down hauled with the remaining furling line. We pulled it up and managed to snag the swivel and pull it down. With a new shackle, we raised and furled the jib and sat down for a well earned beer. Although we were bobbing around quite a bit, we enjoyed a secure nights sleep.

Next morning after a visit from a fisherman in a dug out canoe, we sailed under jib to Durai – otherwise known as Turtle Island. Attempting to anchor to the north in 20+M, the chain partially wrapped around a coral head, and so the anchor didnt set. It was a bit of a tricky situation, so John snorkelled ahead and with excellent visibility, could see the bottom and we steered our way around and out of trouble and recovered the anchor without drama.We pulled up the sails and headed to the South East of Semut, making 8-9kn of boat speed with 15kn of wind on the beam – what a cracking sail. Semut was a lovely protected anchorage in 12M on sand, and with coral reefs on 3 sides; so very calm and lots of snorkelling.

After 9hrs of the best sleep, we snorkelled for two hours. John saw a turtle and i saw a Kuhl’s stingray, about 45cm across and with a barbed tail half as long again. There were 3 small fishing boats rafted up nearby, and they offered the girls fish.

Fishing with a bucket?

We offered beer and milk in return, but of course they were only interested in the fresh milk (susu). John swam across with the milk carton in a bucket, and returned with 3 1kg++ excellent fresh fish.

And so it was pan fried bream with a citrus couscous  for a fabulous lunch.

We reluctantly left this anchorage – could have easily stayed a few days. And with a sunny sky, white caps, wind on the beam, and Veron on the helm, we powered along to Pendjalin Besar, dropping in 17M with all 60M of chain out.

A quick snorkel confirmed we had a well set anchor and plenty of swinging room. It was a windy and bit bouncy night, but we enjoyed a dark n stormy (rum and ginger ale), and roasted bream in the oven for dinner.

Next morning, we had excellent snorkelling,  John saw a cowtail stingray and I had a real surprise when i saw a 6’ black tipped reef shark. The beast took a couple of very deliberate and slow circles around me, and then (thankfully)  disappeared. I caught up with John and we saw him again, and as we headed the 400M back to the yacht, he followed us most of the way! I guess curious, or just showing us whose territory it really was. For obvious reasons, we decided to not mention to the girls!. After breakfast, we sailed off, 2 reefs in the main and a slightly reefed jib, close hauled towards Moonrock Lagoon, on a course similar to what we would have on our way back to SG, with waves breaking over the foredeck and occasionally coming over the helm. We followed the Howarth’s way points into the Lagoon, and anchored in front of Moonrock bluff.

This must be the signature anchorage in the Anambas. Protected to the North, East and South;  just spectacular. Smoked salmon and fresh bread for lunch. Then John and I paddled to the bluff, and made the 15min quite strenuous climb up. The views were truly spectacular and well worth the effort.


The view from the top

I think a couple of cold beers up there next time, watching the sunset would be perfect. Afterwards we all had a snorkel, then back on board for a refreshing GnT (the small freezer in the fridge makes just enough ice). Roast lamb in the oven, and a million stars in the sky – this is the place.

After b’fast, a spirited two reef sail on a single tack to Pulau Temuruk, also known as Sandspit island. A MOB exercise to recover my hat, then lunch, snorkelling and on to our overnight destination – Pulau Penjaul. We used our final fish tonight for a fish pie.

In the morning, we paddled to Pedjaul then to the next island to the west, where a caretaker couple look after an ambitious project which started with a rock jetty, some initial buildings, but then stalled. It may be a fabulous place one day. We sailed out around the bottom of Masabang, then continuously tacked up the channel to Temburan Waterfall. Veron and I paddled to the stilt village, then began up the steep steps. It proceeded to get more and more vertical, and we scrambled the last bit on all fours. We reached the top after 30mins for some great views over the waterfall down to the yacht.


Down the waterfall

We decided to walk down the new road on the way back, and bought a couple of tomatoes and potatoes. Most of the villages obviously run off a diesel generator for only a few hours a day, so no cold drinks here. We motored the short distance to Anambas Bay Resort South, and found a good anchorage in 20M close to the township. I winched John up the mast to tighten the radar reflector which had been spinning like a top, and then it was a GnT on a lovely calm anchorage.

Up early on day 10, i guess it was the Mosque music. We had noticed the head sail need some stitching (obviously damaged when it went in the water), so we took it down and John stitched it up. Then it was around the corner and into the main township of Terampa, so we could check out of Pak land. We piled into the kayak with a couple of bags of rubbish, and paddled ashore to the amusement of many.

First stop was Immigrassi. We followed their hillarious process with lots of copies of docs, chops, and selifes with the officers

Thanks for the chop, Pak!

Next it was Customs, more joking around and many new ways to pronounce Birregurra. More of the same and some skilled work on the typewriter at Quarantine. Our final stop was to find the Harbour Master having Makan and a smoke – some more paperwork and we were finally done. It all took a while but patience and good humour go a long way, and it saved us a trip back to Nongsa, so well worth it. Some Makan, then back on board after 3hrs. Our plan was to sail to Airabu, but with lots of tacking, we wisely decided to anchor north of Akar – you really need daylight coming into anchorages here. We definitely needed Google Earth to get our anchoring right here as the maps were a long way out. Tonight it’s Jane guacamole and tuna pasta bake b4 commencing the long haul back tomorrow.

The home run

We were up at 6am, and heard the strain on the anchor chain during the night, but all good. Coffee, a BLT wrap, topped up the fuel (didnt need to), and headed out into 19kn of apparent wind, two reefs, a big heel on a port tack. We had planned to drop in to Bawah. It is a fabulous anchorage, but is now a resort and they charge USD200 night to moor up – no anchoring now allowed. Anyway, we planned to just drop in for a look, but it would have cost us 6hrs, so we held course for SG. Close hauled into 2M seas, quite a bit of slamming, but we managed to hold a single tack all the way back. Around 5am, there was a very strong smell of diesel. We checked but found no leaks, and it abated after about 10mins, so we concluded we had sailed through a diesel spill/dump.

Almost as good as a CSC sunset

As the sun came up, we approached Tompok Utara, and crossed at the area where the tankers begin merging prior to them entering the TSS of the Middle Channel. We tracked up the northern edge of the channel, arriving Angler around 3pm. As the wind had finally dropped, we motor sailed the last 4hours. So we had 28hrs of continuous spirited sailing on the way home – what a bonus. We made the final hop to CSC, clocking up 589NM for the trip, and secured Birregurra to her trusty mooring, and had a cold beer aboard. Ferry boat, ferry boat on channel 77,  ashore, a hot shower, and we all joined a bbq with my team at CSC – a great way to finish a fabulous cruise.

We were perhaps incredibly lucky – no squalls, hardly any rain, fantastically consistent wind, sunshine, deep water, almost no traffic, no fishing nets and great anchorages. Some nice shore visits and a couple of very good hikes and lots of snorkelling made this a well balanced trip.

Next year?

It would be great to get a small flotilla from CSC interested for next year. 3-4 well prepared yachts would give some more safety in numbers. July/August seems to be the time to go. Preparation is the key.

We took Choy’s advice and used tank water for drinking, and largely avoided using plastic bottles at all, cutting down our rubbish by 70%. No generator – just a solar panel and running the alternator for a bit most days was enough to get us through. The fridge worked very well, and we had cold beer every night.

All in all a great trip, and looking forward to next year!